Ivory Soapy Attitude (Camp Meeting, 7/6/19)

Posted by on Jul 11, 2019 in Pitman Camp Meeting, Sermons | 0 comments

PUMC hosted the Camp Meeting on 7/6/19.  Our music Director (Sue Crispin) and The Voices in Praise Choir led the music, and Pastor Jim (Bolton) preached a challenging message about being clean on the INSIDE in order to be clean on the outside.  Hypocrisy was a problem with the Pharisees, and it’s a problem we need to watch out for in the church today.

Is He Wearing That Shirt Again?!?

OK. Pastor Jim is now beginning his 6th year at PUMC, and he has consistently shown us that he likes to enjoy worship. He likes to have fun; sometimes even to have fun with us. Since joining PUMC, he has spoken at the Camp Meeting every summer (except for 2017 when he got called away to a last minute emergency).

Up until this year, he wore the same shirt to Camp Meeting every year… 

So… as the evening approached, the biting question on everyone’s minds is “will Pastor Jim wear that yellow plaid shirt again????

Click the below drop down box for the surprising answer…

Here's the 2019 Shirt!

Yep!  There’s that shirt again (and the pants look pretty familiar too!)  He’s playing with us now.  From now on, count on this shirt being his designated “Camp Meeting Shirt.”

 

Music

This year (perhaps inspired by last week’s powerful performance of Richwood UMC’s band, “Sanctified”, we decided to forgo the Tabernacle piano and bring our electronic keyboard.  Despite the weight and difficulty in lugging it to the Grove, it was proved to be well worth the effort… especially after we discovered a mouse scurrying across the piano’s strings!

Our Music family was well represented as Sue Crispin played the keyboard, and the Voices in Praise Choir sang an anthem (Chris Tomlin’s “Is He Worthy?”… “He is…”). 

Before getting into the Camp Meeting’s traditional song, “In the Garden” (its writer C. Austin Miles once lived in Pitman), we opened the musical selections up to the congregation.  Hymns were picked from the Camp Meeting’s hymnal (and Sue had no problem pounding them out on the keyboard… even the ones in the key of D flat!).

Lee’s guitar and Larry’s bass added to the chords of our “Mouse-Less” keyboard.  

 

Ivory Soapy Attitude

Pastor Jim then took the pulpit to preach on three related texts- Matthew 5:8, Matthew 6:19-24, and Matthew 23:25-28. 

Click on the “play” button to listen to a recording of the sermon, then follow along below…

 

 

 

Open this Drop Down box to read the scripture…

Scripture (NIV)

Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

–     –     –     –

Matt 6:19-24

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.

23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

–     –     –     –     –

Matt 23:25-28

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.

28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

 

Purified!

Typical of the summer weather, Camp Meeting traditionally tends towards hot and fiery “conviction” sermons.  But Spiritual Growth and edifying sermons are also needed.  So there’s always a balance.

Pure in heart.  We tend to be obsessed with purity.  Nothing added… 100% pure.  More marketing than truth.

The weather at tonight’s service was comfortable.  But during the summers in the Grove, it can be pretty warm.  And a bottle of water is usually a necessity. 

Bottled water is often advertised as “Pure.”  Or, “Purified.”  Fruit drink is “100% pure fruit juice” (but when you try to read the label you discover that your “100% pure fruit juice” is filled with ingredients with names you can’t pronounce).  Years ago, there was a commercial for Ivory Soap which claimed that it was 99.44% pure.

What about the other .56%?!?  If we wash with this soap will be be 100% pure?  Or, is 99.44% pure good enough?  What’s it mean to be pure?

By definition, pure means not contaminated.  Not polluted in any way.

Then what does it mean when Jesus says we must be pure in heart.  We still sin.  We still must confess what we’ve done wrong by thought, word and deed.  Can we still get into heaven?  Nobody’s perfect.  But in order to see God and to be filled with joy, we must be pure in heart. 

 

Intense Conversation

The religious leaders built a faith system build on policy and law.  But Jesus came to give us love and grace. 

  • God:             10 Commandments. 
  • Pharisees:  660 commandments 
  • Jesus:          whittled down to 2  (Love God, Love your neighbors as yourself)

You can’t make enough rules to change human behavior.  So there must be a different way.  That’s where grace comes in.  Jesus came to change the perception that following all of the rules and regulations will get you to heaven.  Rules won’t make you pure. 

It was intense.  Jesus was angry.  The Pharisees said that you can have access to God, but you’ve got to pay our price.  The poor- they weren’t allowed to even come into the worship center.

So Jesus called them out for what they were- hypocrites!  They look great on the outside, but they’re spiritually dead in the inside. And they were keeping people from coming to God.  But holiness is keeping yourself under the banner of grace and living your fullest for Him. 

 

What About Us?

Are WE pure in heart?  Or do we just talk a good game, wear our “Sunday go to meeting clothes” and then transform into something else when we leave the church?  Are you still singing “This is the Day that the Lord Has Made” when you get into your car?  Are you the same person when you’re in a pew as when you’re behind the wheel?

A man was at a party, dressed in a devil’s suit.  On the way home his car broke down.  Looking for help, he discovered a church that was open, and he entered the sanctuary.   Members of the congregation (and even the pastor) saw “the devil” in the rear of their sanctuary and they were filled with fear and ran out of the church. 

But one older lady nervously approached the devil and told him: ” I’ve been a member of this church for over 50 years… but I’ve been on your side the whole time!”

Is that the perception we are giving out to people?  We talk a good game on Sunday, but when we get out into the world, does our speech match our witness?

 

Pure in Heart

The mouth speaks out of that which is truly in your heart.”  So clean the inside of the cup!  It’s too easy to appear to be clean (reference the old Bert Lancaster movie, “Elmer Gantry“).  

The Pharisees understood the scriptures but they put their own personal spin on it.  Do churches today do the same thing?  Avoid getting people upset?  Or do put the Gospel out there and let the Spirit do the work?

Psalm 24:3-4 

 Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?
 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.

Job 17:9

The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.

Psalm 51: 10

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.  (“Clean” in Hebrew also means pure)

James 4:8

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Know what you believe and live it.

 

It’s the Inside that Matters

Jesus goes to great length to explain that the inside must be pure if the outside is going to be clean.  When we accept Christ, His holiness and pureness is put on us.  That’s the pureness that God sees.  We’re justified.  God sees us “Just As If We never Sinned.” But- do our actions and speech match that gift of holiness?

It’s only the religious people who have trouble with Jesus.  “If Jesus were alive today, and if the atonement had to take place today, who is it that would betray Jesus and nail Him to the cross? – The Church!

It’s time the Church stopped allowing the culture to dictate to us and to instead stand up for what the Word says.  It’s what’s on the inside that matters. What’s eventually seen on the outside is what is on the inside.

A storm was approaching, and there was a tree leaning towards the parsonage’s neighbor’s house.  But the trustees said “It’s Fine!”  The pastor replied, “Ask the chair of the trustees to stay there during the storm!”

The pastor called out a tree expert who found that the tree was dead.  When they took it down, the top 30 feet or so was completely hollow.  A mild gust of wind would have knocked it over.

Is the spirit on the inside full and healthy?  Will we be able to stand tall when the storms hit?  It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside.  What matters is what’s on the inside.

 

Be 100% Pure… in Christ!

Being 99.44% pure will not cut it!  That’s not what Jesus died for.  The only way is for us to be 100% pure.  And the only way that can happen in God’s eyes is for us to turn our hearts over to Christ and to live and breath in His being.

Romans 3:22-25

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,

The Pure in Heart are those whose heart God purified just as he is pure.

 John Wesley

 

 

We’re purified by faith by the blood of Jesus.  Perfect holiness comes from a loving reverence of God.  When we come to a saving faith in Jesus.  When we commit ourselves to prayer, worship, service, and knowing what He has told us in the Bible.  When we let the Spirit become who we are, and we become part of Him. When we grow in the faith.   That’s when we’re purified.

The Pharisees weren’t pure in heart, so they couldn’t see God.  The couldn’t lead people to God.  But the pure in heart will see God.  We’ll see the miraculous. Miracles do happen.  But we need the purity of the Holy Spirit in our hearts in order to see them.  The miraculous is happening all around us.  But do we see it? Do we embrace it?  Do we see Him when we walk the dog?  Do we see Him in a rainbow or sunrise?  Do we see the Miracle of God when we see a loving mother comfort her child? 

The world might be 99.44% pure, but if we have a saving faith in Jesus, we’re 100% pure.

The pure in heart are joyful.   Their lives are producing treasure in heaven that won’t fade or rust away.  They see God because their hearts are clean, free of contaminants.  And all of that happened because of Jesus’ grace and love.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.

 

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